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Eatontown Personal Injury Law Blog

Communication may improve patient outcomes

A dermatologist that practices in New Jersey or anywhere else in America may reduce his or her odds of being sued by communicating well with patients. Overall, male dermatologists were 2.5 times more likely to face a lawsuit than females in the same field. Since females tend to be better communicators, they also tend to be the subject of lawsuits less frequently than male dermatologists are. This data comes from research published in JAMA Dermatology that analyzed a total of 90,743 closed claims.

Out of the total number of claims, 1,084 were against dermatologists while the rest were against other types of medical professionals. By actively communicating with patients, female dermatologists delivered patient-centered care, which involves listening to patient input and being encouraging and reassuring of their needs. Always providing this type of treatment may increase patient outcomes and satisfaction, and the researchers note that medical professionals of both sexes can provide this type of care.

Brain injuries linked to intestinal changes

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have discovered a two-way link among traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and changes in the colon. This may account for the increase in systemic infections that usually accompany a TBI. New Jersey residents that have experienced or know someone who has sustained a TBI will want to know more about this study.

The researchers analyzed the effects of TBIs in mice in order to reach their conclusions. The mice exhibited delayed, long-term changes in their colons as well as systemic infections in the gastrointestinal system. Since the colon was observed to become more permeable, it allowed the spread of harmful, infectious microbes. This, in turn, increased the chances of the mice exhibiting tissue loss and brain inflammation.

The factors that influence rulings on durotomy cases

Residents of New Jersey who undergo spinal surgery should know about durotomy. Dural tears are tears made in the outer membrane of the spine, and they are sometimes an unintended consequence of surgery. They do not lead to serious injuries if they are discovered and repaired right away; however, they can also generate claims of medical malpractice when they go undetected.

A study published in the medical journal "Spine" has analyzed the medical malpractice claims of 24 males and 24 females, averaging 55 years of age, who suffered from durotomy. Researchers noted how the allegations ranged from the need for additional surgery to delayed diagnoses to the reopening of dural tears after the second operation. They also noted how the injuries ranged from physical weakness (in 80 percent of the cases) to serious conditions like brain damage and even death.

Artificial intelligence and diagnosing pneumonia

New Jersey residents may soon have a lower risk of having their pneumonia misdiagnosed. Imaging software that is powered by artificial intelligence developed by researchers at Stanford University may be used to help physicians more accurately diagnose pneumonia.

The software, CheXnet, is a neural network that can evaluate images based on certain parameters. The neural network was trained using 112,120 images of chest X-rays with descriptors for up to 14 different medical conditions, one of which was pneumonia. Following one month of training, the results of the software exceed those of the other computer-based procedures that had been used to identify pneumonia.

Driving safely during the winter

According to the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, 22 percent of all motor vehicle accidents are attributed, at least in part, to weather. Because of hazardous seasonal conditions, drivers in New Jersey should take extra precautions to drive safely during the winter season. Two of the primary hazards are ice and black ice.

Ice accumulates on the wet roads when the surface temperature falls below the point of freezing. The ice remains on the road in non-freezing temperatures because the ground will get warm at a lower rate than the air. Ice on the road makes it challenging to steer and stop appropriately by making it difficult for tires to get sufficient grip.

End of daylight saving time signals increased risk for drivers

The end of daylight saving time may be associated with an increased risk of wildlife-related crashes, and motorists in New Jersey and other states should take note. According to the department of transportation in one western state, an average of 3,300 animal-vehicle collisions are reported each year with property damage exceeding $3,400 on average. Shorter daylight hours make animals on the move more difficult to see during prime travel times regardless of locale, so drivers everywhere may want to take extra care to avoid an accident.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife advises motorists to change their driving habits when they change their clocks. From an increased use of seatbelts to increased vigilance on streets and byways, the agency's published list of precautions could help drivers across the nation avoid dangerous encounters with wild animals on the roadway. Motorists may especially want to remember that the return to standard time occurs during the peak mating season for many types of wild animals, including deer. During this time, animals may be more oblivious to oncoming vehicular traffic than ever, placing both humans and animals at increased risk for serious injury and death.

Avoiding the dangers of New Jersey medication errors

Opioids were involved in 24 percent of liability claims related to medication according to a report from a Boston insurance company. The report looked at approximately 10,000 currently closed medical claim cases that had been filed between 2012 and 2016. Patients were also likely to have medication claims related to the use of anticoagulants. They made up another 16 percent of all claims related to medication liability.

One way to keep patients safe may be to increase the level of communication that they have with their health care providers. It may also be worthwhile to put more of a priority on ensuring that seemingly routine decisions related to providing medical care are better thought out. In 15 percent of opioid claims, it was alleged that doctors had acted in an inappropriate manner toward patients. According to the insurer, fewer mistakes are being made because of new safety steps such as putting barcodes on medication and going through self-assessments.

Bridging the generation gap in the workplace

With more and more people working past traditional retirement age, employers across New Jersey may have to adapt to age diversity in the workforce. Many of these older workers are filling industrial jobs, so it's especially important to provide effective safety training.

For instance, employers can check in on their older employees and be flexible when age-related conditions make them no longer able to perform a given task. Companies could also introduce workers to new technologies in the context of safety training. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, only 18 percent of Americans 65 and older owned smartphones. Once older adults are familiarized with new technology, however, they tend to embrace it.

How concussions differ between men and women

Residents of either gender in New Jersey may experience concussion symptoms in their lifetime. However, according to the director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, women will experience those symptoms differently than men. As there has been little research into female concussion symptoms, it is still unclear why this is the case. Furthermore, women may take longer to recover from a concussion than men do after experiencing a head injury.

It is believed that part of the reason why this is the case is because of differences in hormones. It may also be because of differences in how the neck muscles react between men and women. Women may also be more likely to report concussion symptoms, such as withdrawing from friends of experiencing headaches. Furthermore, female athletes may be more likely to experience a concussion than male athletes.

Heat safety for workers still a concern as summer winds down

With summer coming to a close, many New Jersey residents are looking forward to cooler temperatures. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics reminds some workers that they should still be aware of the dangers of heat exposure while working through the remaining warm weather months.

According to the BLS, heat exposure contributed to 2,830 nonfatal workplace injuries and 37 worker deaths across the U.S. in 2015. Thirty-three of those deaths happened between the months of June and September.

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